Words of Wisdom:

"Those who criticise, are normally capable of more than the people they are criticising." - NewRaVer

John Steinback

  • Date Submitted: 10/12/2010 12:36 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55.7 
  • Words: 1452
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Have you ever wondered where an author gets his ideas or inspiration?

In 1940, John Steinbeck and a good friend, Ed Ricketts, set out on a sailing trip that would later be described in Steinbeck's non-fiction work The Sea of Cortez. During the trip, Steinbeck heard a legend about the misfortunes of a poor fisherboy who had found a great pearl. Inspired by the legend, Steinbeck published The Pearl in a magazine in 1945 under the title "The Pearl of the World." The story was so successful that in 1947 it was published as a book and adapted as a film.

In his story, Steinbeck changed the young fisherboy of the legend into a man with a family. But the main idea remained the same--that a beautiful, valuable pearl brings only trouble and sadness, not peace or happiness, to a fisherman and his loved ones.

Steinbeck was an acute observer of human nature. He wrote about people he knew and about towns he had lived in. Prior to writing about these people, he would often live with them for a while and get to know their way of life. Most of his characters are down and out, isolated and oppressed. They give voice to the "struggle" theme of his novels--namely, the struggle between the poor and the wealthy, the weak and the strong, and between different types of civilization (for instance, European and Mexican).

His family was not rich, and Steinbeck would never forget his origins, even after he had become a celebrated writer. His father, a miller, had arrived in California shortly after the U.S. Civil War, and his mother was the daughter of immigrants from Ulster, Ireland. When Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902, his parents settled in Salinas, a town in a fertile valley in western California, about 100 miles south of San Francisco.

Steinbeck's mother, a teacher in the Salinas school system, encouraged him to read at a very early age. Literature became his passion, and before he entered high school he was reading Jack London, the Bible, Gustave Flaubert's...

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